Most organizations begin by telling you who "they" are, but since we're a local citizen-run group, and you are a local citizen, we'd like to think of you as part of the "we" already.
So about you: You want to help make the Cowichan Valley a great place to live, work and play. You believe in holding decision makers accountable to the strong social and environmental values that join us together as a community, and in celebrating this beautiful place - our home. You believe in working shoulder to shoulder with fellow citizens to make our collective voice more powerful.
If this describes you well, then please join us! You can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for current news and to learn about events you might like to participate in. You can also get involved directly and donate.
Learn more about the team and contact us directly.
One Cowichan was born out of the Cowichan River running dangerously low in the Fall of 2012. This occurred due to the mismanagement of the Provincial Government who refused to increase water storage behind the weir at Lake Cowichan as requested by the Cowichan Watershed Board.
The River Petition
As a result, One Cowichan circulated a River Petition requesting the Province remedy the situation right away, and longer term, to give responsible local governments, including First Nations, the authority to better manage our water. We hosted a 200 person community meeting with key actors, including the Province. Shortly after, the Province changed its policy to be able to retain more water behind the weir for longer.
After the river crisis, One Cowichan circulated a community survey asking what was most important to folks in the valley. The results of the survey encouraged us to go further and push for local control.
2013 Vote Pledge Campaign
In line with the 2013 spring Provincial Election, One Cowichan ran a Vote Pledge campaign which resulted in over 1500 citizens pledging to vote for local control of the watershed. We also gathered the support of local municipalities, businesses and organizations which lead to all candidates submitting positive statements for local control.
Water Act Petition
With the Province re-writing the 100+ year old Water Act, it was a great time to allow for local control pilots if written well. During the summer of 2013 we attended local events encouraging citizens to sign a petition asking for public consultations throughout the process of the re-write, as well as have a piece written in allowing flexibility for local control within the new Act.
Standing Up for BC
In 2013/2014, local citizens were very concerned about increased tanker traffic on the coast and more climate change with proposed new pipelines from Enbridge and Kinder Morgan.
So, we pledged to join together with allies to lay the foundation for a possible HST-style citizen’s initiative to stop increased oil tanker traffic and to make room for clean energy instead. We signed up 300 volunteers willing to collect signatures in our two provincial ridings when/if a citizens initiative gets called.
Local Elections 2014
In the Fall of 2014 we ran a campaign to engage local citizens in the municipal elections. We surveyed the public about what they cared about and published a community platform.
We surveyed the dozens of candidates about their positions and created a one stop shop for voters with the answers. We then ran a get of the vote campaign, encouraging people to cast their ballots. We were pleased that a strong group of local progressive leaders were elected.
Solar Capital of BC Campaign
In the Spring of 2015 we kicked off a campaign to make Cowichan the solar energy capital of BC. Building on some great local activity already underway, we want to capitalize on the fact that we live in "the warm land."
The technology and cost of local clean energy including solar have made dramatic improvements over the past several years, opening the door to developing energy solutions that not only fight climate change, but make money!
You can also watch this video on the first ever Cowichan Solar Tour!
Federal Election 2015
Starting in the late summer into the fall of 2015 turned out to be one of the longest election periods for Canada. After 9 years of scientific, environmental and social programming cuts, stricter security laws, a decline in health care among many other issues the Country including citizens of Cowichan were ready for change. Based on feedback from the community, we organized a campaign for change in government without endorsing any particular party.
After a training session in August, 2+ teams were ready to canvass in low voter turnout neighbourhoods to encourage them to vote for change. We commissioned two polls to see where voters stood in May and October, had our first campaign office, shared testimonial videos on why folks were voting and ran radio ads to remind voters of the advanced polling and election dates. On October 19th, we drove citizens to the polls and hosted an election day party to celebrate the results!
As we've worked on these issues, we've collaborated with other organizer groups to train and empower local leaders to build a network of skilled Organizers in the Valley. We've hosted training sessions in November 2013, July 2014, and August 2015.
We believe in using community organizing principles to bring people together to make change. These trainings help achieve that goal.